I have had 3 phone interviews so far and much to my dismay only one campus interview offer (to declined to invite me; one via wiki and one via email). It is my perception that the one that invited me was by far my worst phone interview. It appears I have no idea how to judge my performance on phone interviews. How do others tell if they are being recieved well over the phone?
Date: 24 Jan 2011 05:48
Number of posts: 5
RSS: New posts
I can't imagine how one could begin to judge, because really who knows what the criteria are?! It may be that they are hoping someone says something that indicates they are a fit for a certain research collaboration. It may be that they secretly need a stats guru or someone who can run an MRI or someone who can teach IO Psych or someone who can un-jam a copier. It's hard not to overthink it, but the truth is that the decision to interview vs. not interview comes down to way more than your performance during the interview… so don't judge your performance too harshly or scrutinize yourself too much (says the pot to the kettle). You're obviously not doing anything terrible, given that you did get the one interview.
My phone interviews have consisted of a few SC members very obviously reading questions off of a list and then responding with "Ok, good" with little to no additional questions and essentially no compliments regarding my answers. Can't exactly read too much into that, now can you? However, one such phone interview led to an offer that I accepted. All of that is to say, I'm not sure I would expend a lot of effort in determining how well you were received over the phone, especially since some SCs may have explicitly decided not to indicate their interest or disinterest during a phone interview. All you can do is present the best possible you and hope that that version of you is exactly the person they are looking for.
I'm in the same boat as anon again, I've had 3 phone interviews and only one campus invite. It's horribly disheartening. All of my interviews were difficult, and all of the SC had read my materials thoroughly before we talked, and were ready with some very tough questions about my work, my teaching, etc. I got the distinct impression that they were looking for reasons to rule me out, so they could shorten their short list. Probably being paranoid, but it didn't feel warm and friendly like some phone interviews I have had in the past — much more pointed and focused.
I've heard from several reliable sources that the SC's already have their candidates ranked before the phone interviews, so if you're towards the end of their list, there's not a ton you can do to bump yourself up to the top. On the other hand, they want to make sure the top folks aren't terrible in ways they couldn't judge from their application. So, even if the SC is trying hard to treat everyone the same, they might inadvertently create a self-fulfilling prophesy by acting coolly to the folks at the bottom. Which sucks!
Even if that's not true, I think its really hard to read how a phone interview went. No nonverbal cues and the general awkwardness of the situation make them terrible! I had some phone interviews that I thought I nailed and was never invited for the real interview (maybe reinforcing the point above?).
Before we hung up, I would always ask their timeline just to help alleviate the uncertainty just a little.